LINDA NOLAN ON LIVING LIFE TO THE FULL DESPITE CANCER I’m ticking off my bucket list.. dream trip to New York, Donny and Marie Osmond in Vegas, Santa in Lapland and some brand new Louboutins
LINDA Nolan has her future – however long that may be – all carefully mapped out.
From jetting to New York for a star-studded break to a picturepostcard Christmas in Lapland, she is determined to savour every second of life as she battles the cancer that took her sister Bernie at just 52.
With the disease contained and checks every six months instead of three, Linda, 60, is preparing to fulfil a string of exciting plans on her bucket list.
“The cancer hasn’t spread and that’s the main thing. That is the worry, of course,” says Linda. “It’s treatable and not curable – and the treatment is working well. The only side-effect is arthritis in every joint which is very painful, but at least it’s not cancer.
“You have to be optimistic. There are lots of things I want to do with my life. I’ve been given a second chance.”
Top of her bucket list is a trip to see her teenage idols. “I’m going to see Donny and Marie Osmond in Vegas,” she says. “My friend Liz Emmett has paid first class Virgin Airways for me to go in October for 10 days – me, sister Maureen and my best friends.
You have to be optimistic. There are lots of things I want to do with my life LINDA NOLAN ON LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF CANCER
“I had Donny’s pillow case when I was 13. I’m still starstruck when I see him.”
And, of course, she will be dressed in her finest. “Louboutin shoes were also on my bucket list and now I have them. It’s all because of Liz who’s been a Nolan fan all her life and now she’s a good friend. She arranged my birthday and the meeting with Donnie later this year, and the shoes. It’s amazing.”
Linda is planning a trip to Lapland for her whole family including her brothers and sisters and their children. She says: “I would love to take my great nephews and nieces while they all still believe in Father Christmas, I just need to save up.
“And I haven’t been to New York since I was 15. We had two weeks there while supporting Engelbert Humperdinck. I’d love to go and see the Christmas Parade.
“To be honest, I’ve been lucky that a lot of things I’ve wanted to do, I have already done. But those things would be really special.”
In February, Linda celebrated her 60th with a huge party where the Nolans reunited on stage.
She reveals she snubbed four people she’d had a rift with, sending them letters to say they weren’t invited. But now she says she has forgiven them. “I can move on,” she laughs. “I don’t want to waste my time thinking about them when they aren’t thinking about me. I read that ‘if you can’t forgive, then you can’t move on’. Now I don’t have to worry about them.” She’s had worries enough since being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. After a gruelling fight she was given the all-clear five years later. But in 2017 a tumour was found on her hip.
Now she just wants to live every day as though it is her last. And she is supported by her sisters, including Loose Women star Coleen, 54, who recently bought her a puppy so she’s never lonely. Linda says: “It’s a black shih tzu called Betty Boo. Sometimes she is the only reason I get out of bed because she needs a walk. My sisters are a great source of encouragement too. They tell me, ‘Live every day as if it’s your last’.
“It’s about enjoying life and keeping in touch with friends. Now when I’m low I think, ‘People are more worse off than you’.”
She says if her symptoms worsened, she would have no hesitation using controversial cannabis oil to manage pain. But she won’t cut out all treats from her diet.
“People tell you ‘do this, do
that’, but I like my Mr Whippy with a flake. I try to cut down on sugar though,” she says. When we last caught up, Linda was considering internet dating. She now says: “Four of the Nolans are single, including Coleen, but we don’t go out on the prowl. So I got together with friends to set up an online dating profile. We opened a bottle of wine and it got hysterical. My friends were writing ‘horrible – she’s a bitch’ under the descriptions. We were shouting, ‘Swipe to the left, no swipe to the right’.
“Dating turns you into a 15-year-old again. If I were to go on a date I’d have my friends in the restaurant looking out for me. You have to be careful.”
While Linda is enjoying life, she was recently reminded of a dark period following the loss of husband Brian 11 years ago.
The pair were married for 26 years before Brian died of skin cancer. In the depths of her depression, Linda wrote suicide notes to her sisters. She explains: “I stumbled across them not long ago. Every letter said, ‘I know you will understand’ – because at the time you think they will, but of course they wouldn’t.
“I will probably always have depression but I manage it with medication and counselling. I hope I never go back there.”
She uses cognitive behavioural therapy to stop self-harming. She says: “When I’ve got no one to call at 3am, I will call the Samaritans. Sometimes all you need is an ear.” But lately there have been no calls to Samaritans and Linda is preparing to return to work.
“I’m hopefully going back on Loose Women and I’m ready to go on tour with a musical again,” she says. “You have to work to pay the bills. I do love working.
“As for The Nolans getting back together, I’m not sure.
“It will be six years next month since Bernie passed away. I can’t believe how we have managed to live without her.
“It’s too hard now, but maybe one day. Never say never.”
MUST SEE Linda’s a big fan of Donny & Marie HEYDAY Linda with her sisters at her 21st FAMILY TRIP To see Santa at Lapland APPLE OF HER EYE Can’t wait to revisit New York BACK For a 2009 tour. Linda, Coleen, Maureen and Bernie
CATCHING UP Linda and Halina
DEFIANT Linda says she’s been given ‘second chance’